Pioneer Building

William A. Wells
These photographs were taken in 2002.

According to the Oklahoma Historical Society website, "The telephone came to Oklahoma City in 1893 with the arrival of the Missouri-Kansas Telephone Company. For about ten years this firm held a monopoly, but then came competition: Pioneer Telephone Company, a new and energetic organization which in a few short years had swallowed up a number of the small town exchanges, and now was challenging Missouri-Kansas for the city's telephone business. For a time it was necessary for citizens to subscribe to the services of both companies if they wanted to insure communication links with all other residents and businesses in town, but in 1905 this inconvenience was eliminated when Pioneer bought out Missouri-Kansas. Three years later the surviving company moved into this new headquarters building at Northwest Third and Broadway." (Edwards and Ottaway, Vanished Splendor 85) Shown here is the earlier headquarters building.

This seven-story building has three clear divisions with a base, "shaft," and top, each delineated differently. The shaft has windows terminating in arches, recalling the Romanesque influence on some early tall buildings. It has unequal bays with a central section with three bays of unequal widths and sections with three bays flanking the central section. Later skyscrapers may have a base and top but generally the bays in the shaft will have identical widths.

Decorative elements like those of his mentor, Louis Sullivan

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© 2015 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.